Listen to Wikipedia

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Listen to Wikipedia
Screen Shot Listen to Wikipedia.png
License3-clause BSD license

Listen to Wikipedia, also known as L2W or Hatnote: Listen To Wikipedia, is a multimedia visualizer developed by Mahmoud Hashemi and Stephen LaPorte which translates recent Wikipedia edits into a display of visuals and sounds. The open source software application creates a real-time statistical graphic with sound from contributions to Wikipedia from around the world. To accomplish this, L2W uses the graphics library D3.js.[1]

The concept of Listen to Wikipedia is based on BitListen, originally known as Listen to Bitcoin, an application by Maximillian Laumeister.[2][3]


Listen to Wikipedia exhibited at the University of Virginia


Each edit produces a note in the pentatonic scale.[4] The bell-like sounds of a celesta correspond to edits with a net addition of content to Wikipedia, and the strums of a clavichord correspond to net subtractions of content. The pitch is inversely proportional to the size of the edit (lower pitched notes are produced by larger edits).[5] Newly registered Wikipedia users are welcomed by a violin chord.[6]


Each edit creates a circle of one of three colors: white for registered users, green for unregistered users, and violet for Wikipedia bots. The size of a circle is proportional to the magnitude of change executed by the edit (larger circles are produced by larger edits).[3] The name of the article edited is displayed in the center of the circle. Clicking on the text opens a Wikipedia page in a new tab in the user's browser, showing the revision. A blue bar at the top of the screen will appear whenever a new Wikipedia user is registered, listing their username.


  1. ^ Listen to Wikipedia,, Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Listen to Wikipedia – Wikimedia blog". Retrieved 2016-06-23.
  3. ^ a b Hashemi, Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud. "Hatnote Listen to Wikipedia". Retrieved 2016-06-23.
  4. ^ Wilson, Mark (August 23, 2013). "Listen To The Orchestra Of Users Updating Wikipedia". Fast Company. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  5. ^ "Listen To Wikipedia: Engineers Translate Edits Into Sound". NPR. Retrieved 2016-06-15.
  6. ^ Seifert, Dan (August 9, 2013). "Fall asleep to the sound of Wikipedia". The Verge. Retrieved December 23, 2019.

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